A popular meme has become a $550 million asset after being fractionalized into non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. The image of a smirking Shiba Inu known as Doge has doubled in value since its launch as an NFT on a decentralized digital art exchange last week, according to CoinGecko data.
The fractionalization of Doge marks an important milestone for the growing market of NFTs, which are unique tokens that are sold and traded on decentralized exchanges like Miso or SushiSwap. NFTs are often used to represent virtual goods or collectibles, including pieces of digital artwork and pets. The NFT market has experienced explosive growth over the past year, fueled by an uptick in interest in blockchain technology.
NFTs are unique, non-fungible strings of characters that are tied to a shared ledger called a blockchain, which is maintained by a network of computers. The blockchain acts as a record of ownership, similar to a digital fingerprint that identifies an object and verifies its authenticity. NFTs can be minted by anyone with an Ethereum address, and anyone can see the list of owners through explorer websites like Etherscan. In the case of the Doge NFT, it’s owned by a woman named Atsuko Sato, the owner of the real Shiba Inu in the photo.
Each NFT can be minted once by anyone on the blockchain, and each one has a unique identifier called a hexadecimal ID. This allows them to be tracked by blockchain explorers, ensuring that no two tokens have the same attributes or value. NFTs can also be stored in wallets, allowing people to own and trade them like cryptocurrencies.
Although NFTs have seen a boom in popularity over the past year, it’s still early days for the industry. The most valuable NFT ever sold was a piece of digital artwork called Beeple’s Everydays, which was bought for $69 million at a digital auction on Zora.
Despite the high price tag for some NFTs, many collectors find them attractive because they allow them to own a piece of online culture. As the industry grows, more companies will likely follow suit, enabling even more people to own their favorite internet mementos.
Kalhan Rosenblatt is a reporter at NBC News covering youth and internet culture. She is based in New York City.
The Doge NFT is available for purchase on the Sweet NFTs platform, which is backed by a cryptocurrency called Sweet. Each NFT comes preprogrammed with traits such as breed, gender, age, coat length and color. Each NFT is also a unique piece of art. The collection has an estimated valuation of over $550 million, and it is currently the fourth-most active collection on OpenSea. Each OG Doge NFT grants members-only benefits, which include access to games from the NFT studio’s game development partners, exclusive gaming events and presale opportunities. OG Doge NFT holders are also eligible to mint OG Puppies, which will be randomly assigned dog companions that will feature in the Feeding Game. dog nft